maygra: (respect)
[personal profile] maygra
I will start with an apology: I am sorry. I am sorry that I have used racial tropes and stereotypes in the past and failed to note them. That I have, and continue to find myself backsliding from time to time into those tropes, into separating or categorizing things based on race when I damn well know better. I am sorry for anyone who has ever been hurt by my failure to recognize my own prejudices. I apologize to my friends, both PoC and non, for being silent. I am a poor ally, but worse, I am frequently a silent observer of struggles that matter and I neither help nor offer haven. I'm sorry.

then I will start with linkage: impertinence

Do please to be reading that.

And this: for the round up of what and why and how and ...gah. amazonziti gives a signal to noise ratio boost

While [ profile] batdina was here, we actually found time to discuss, ever so slightly, how easy it is to be aware of your privilege (be it white privilege, male privilege, christian privilege..etc.) and even be a sincere and caring person who can trip into the race/gender/religious fail chasm and be entirely caught off guard that you even stumbled. And how even on stumbling, you can stand up, wipe yourself off, shrug back on your robe of privilege and keep going like it never happened.

One thing I keep seeing in the comments and discussion over this latest installment of "how to be a racist idiot in ten easy steps, minus nine" is the idea that in writing you should consider your readers and how they might react to your story, and I know there are a lot of people who have stepped back from writing POC because they fear getting it wrong and that they will be descended upon, called on their racial bigotry and biases and that's a little scary.

Uhm. No.

The concern about writing POC should not be that you will be trounced upon if you get it wrong, it should be the fact that you could still get it wrong at all, and not notice it.

In your head are still those gullys and alleys and sewers of the racism you grew up with (and if you live in the US and were born anytime after the inception of the nation you have grown up in a racist society - you cannot escape this,) and that if you do not throw open the windows and shine a little light in on your own brain and your own thoughts, you are willfully and possibly arrogantly contributing to the ongoing lack of a national discussion on issues of race that are not about trying to score political points but should be about addressing the core issues that let this go on and on and on. When someone points out there is dust in the corners even after you turn the lights on, the correct response is not say "Where? I don't see it?" but to walk over, do the work that needs to be done until that particular dust mote is erradicated.

Privilege. I haz it. I even know I have it and fail regularly in regards to issues of race and religion. I have it and even consciously use it in order to resist commenting on issues of Race because hey, I'm white and I don't have to if I don't want to. That is the very definition of white privilege.

And I probably still will and have and could sidestep it entirely yet again except for that one thing, that teeny nagging bit in the back of my lizard brain that says: Bigotry unexpressed in public is still bigotry. You don't have to act on your racism to be racist.

Conscious or unconscious framing of things in racial terms or tropes is not okay. It's not.

My very dear friend Elyn says in her post here:

"Whatever happened, here we are again, with people pointing out the fail, and while there have been "apologies," they once again include attempts at self-exculpation because this isn't what the author meant, and nobody intended to hurt anyone."

Intentions don't matter. Actions do. And failure to act does.

I'm sorry.

Even my apology is about me. I'm not sure how to fix that but I'm working on it. My silence aids no one. I'm not sure my words do either, but my silence means I think every thing is hunky-dory. It's not.

Date: 2010-06-16 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm lovin the bruhaha that J2 story has created. I love how it has forced some people to take a look in the mirror. Not only to take a look, but to realize that they may not like what they see. I read a story of yours a few years ago and it cut like a knife. Not the story persay, but a particualr passage in it. I won't go in to detail but I'll say this: While not exactly racist, the passage was borderline offensive. So yeah, if that J2 story has opened a few eyes, or raised a few brows, I'm all for it.

Date: 2010-06-16 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry if something I wrote hurt you. I won't parse between Offensive for reason I don't know, and racist which I at least have some capability of understanding. It's not on you to tell me what it was but that's where I am. I don't always see it, and chances are I won't on my own.

Date: 2010-06-16 02:31 pm (UTC)
ext_3628: (inle)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, God, Maygra. Thank you so much for this. This is where I am, too. Thank you for finding the words I haven't been able to find. *hugs*

Date: 2010-06-16 05:57 pm (UTC)
ext_942: (Default)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2010-06-16 07:32 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-17 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know there are a lot of people who have stepped back from writing POC because they fear getting it wrong and that they will be descended upon, called on their racial bigotry and biases and that's a little scary.

Based on the comments I read on the author's journal, particularly on her apology post, I'd say that--now, at least--the fear is not so much of being called on your bigotry and biases, which is fair if it's done in a civilized manner, but of being called vile insults by anonymous (and a few non-anonymous) posters across LJ and in your own journal. Writing a story that is perceived as racist is not grounds for calling the author a c***, a "racist cow," and a variety of other epithets. Answering ugliness with more ugliness doesn't help solve the core issue.

Uhm. No.

The concern about writing POC should not be that you will be trounced upon if you get it wrong, it should be the fact that you could still get it wrong at all, and not notice it.

Yes, but the end result for the writer of getting it wrong is being trounced upon and, in this case, insulted and harangued. Perhaps writers attempting POC shouldn't allow this to discourage them but I'll bet that they do nonetheless.

Date: 2010-06-17 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That kind of language hasn't stopped people from writing other hot button issues at all. Incest and kiddie*porn spring to mind -- where the defense can be rightfully claim to, yo, not real people being affected here.

Whereas racially charged or worse, racist-ly ignorant writing does affect real people constantly, daily, inevitably.

You're kind of making my point though, B. People are more afraid of being called on writing racially stereotyping fiction it than they are about the actual writing of it. And there's something very wrong with that.

Date: 2010-06-17 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm linking to your post in an ETA on mine because you a) said a lot of things better than I did and b) pointed out something that I tried not to do and wound up doing anyway and I'd like to own up to it. If that's not okay with you, please let me know.

My post is here:

I sincerely apologize for not taking what you'd said to heart.

Thank you for posting.

Date: 2010-06-17 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No problem with the link at all. It's a brain shift for us to recognize the difference between avoiding a racist mentality because of the consequences if we get caught, and detraining the racist mentality because it's *wrong*.

Date: 2010-06-18 07:40 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-18 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad to see that you are thinking about this.

Date: 2010-06-19 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is seriously kind of you. I've always though about it, my friend. But even the best of intentions are worthless if they stay in my head instead of being put to work by my hands.

Date: 2010-06-19 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I left HL fandom in large part because people were unwilling to deal with these issues. I'm glad to see it getting some actual traction, but I don't think I will lose my disappointment.

Date: 2010-06-20 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here's hoping then that after a decade, not only are we a little older, but a whole lot wiser.

Date: 2010-10-17 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You'd think that, wouldn't you? (

(here via [ profile] amazonziti's post)

Date: 2010-06-21 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a question. I am a long time fan of your writting and when I came recently to re-read some of your fiction I get error on all the fic pages. IS Maygra's Musings down permanently? If yes do you have an archive elsewhere? I am not very internet savvy so... help?

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